Importance of retaining Recchi, Thornton can’t be overestimated

There are other guys that can bring bluntness to the Bruins. Andrew Ference is as analytical as they come and can articulate what needs to be said better than most. Had injuries not knocked him out of the picture this season, Mark Stuart probably would’ve really grabbed a leadership mantle (and still could if he re-signs). Boston’s other veterans, however, aren’t “fox hole” types of guys. Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, David Krejci – these are guys that if they wear a letter or earn a spot in the leadership hierarchy, it’s because of their performance and production, not those intangibles that separate the generals from the privates.

Boston’s intangibles took a blow this season in the aftermath of Aaron Ward, Stephane Yelle, Shane Hnidy and, maybe most importantly, P.J. Axelsson departing. Recchi and Thornton had to handle a larger load when it came to motivation and accountability. Should the veteran pair walk, the Bruins might find themselves with a larger leadership void that can be filled. Even a couple replacements with similar experience and leader qualities would take time to fit in with a new club among a new bunch of teammates. By all accounts, both guys want to come back and wouldn’t be looking to make much more than they did in 2009-10.

With Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin penciled into Boston’s lineup, along with some combination of Brad Marchand, Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron, next season, there should be a large rookie presence on the TD Garden ice. Then with Chara, Bergeron, Savard and Sturm (although injured) Boston will have plenty of star power to complement the phenoms.

Keeping Recchi and Thornton will make sure that the third group every team needs – the role players – will deliver a maximum amount of production, effort and leadership.

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